Friday, January 30, 2015

Simple Pasta Night


Most nights of the week, I don't cook dinner from scratch.  We usually have a bunch of leftovers from batch cooking over the weekend, and I just warm that up after a workout.  Sometimes, though, I get the idea that I'm going to make a nice dinner for us.  Pasta is a quick way to make a nice dinner for your sweetie with minimal work.


Here in Little Rock, we are getting a new Whole Food in February, so our current one is not restocking their shelves until they open the new store.  I went the other night to pick up a few things, and I saw a few jars of Victoria Vegan pasta sauce left, so I snagged one for dinner.  I'm really excited about our new store, because our current one is tiny.



I made a large skillet of asparagus, red onion, and zucchini, and I squeezed in some lemon and a drizzle of olive oil for good measure.


I bought a loaf of bread to go with it, but when I got home, I realized it was a sweet breakfast loaf.  Whoops!  I didn't think dried fruit would go too well with this meal, so I cut up some toast and put garlic and olive oil on top.




I made a simple angel hair pasta and topped it with the sauce.  I like the Victoria Vegan sauce, but this one was a little on the sweet side, and the texture is grainy.  I think it would be better if it's blended.

All in all, it was a tasty dinner.  No recipe is needed, really.  Just saute your favorite veggies and throw them over pasta.

** I have no contact or affiliation with Victoria Vegan.  All opinions are my own.

Do you have a go-to week night pasta meal?  Leave me a comment!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Make This Month: Black Bean Brownies


I have been keeping things on my Things to Make This Month Board, and the first recipe I followed through with were these black bean brownies.  I made a few modifications, but they were really tasty.  I saw the recipe on Finding Vegan, and I knew I would need to make it.



Instead of cocoa powder, I used raw cacao, because that's what we had on hand.  I also used melted coconut oil instead of vegan butter.  The result was a batter that tasted like delicious fudge.




The resulting brownies were a bit on the gooey side, and they were incredibly rich, but they went really well with a little ice cream.  You can have a small portion and still feel satisfied.


I served them at a game party we had with our friends Sheridan and Drew.  We also put out two beautiful, raw vegan cheesecakes made by That's So Raw.  It was a feast!




So, I would recommend you go out and make these immediately, and if any of you have any black bean brownies I could try, let me know.  I would like to try a few more variations.

What's your favorite vegan brownie recipe?  Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Spaghetti Lunch Salad


My favorite type of pasta is angel hair, because it's light and airy.  We made some quick pasta the other night, and I am notorious for making far too much.  So, we had a bunch of extra pasta in the fridge and I thought I would make some lunch for the week.  We also had a bunch of veggies that needed to be eaten, so it was the perfect combination.


Spaghetti Lunch Salad

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked angel hair pasta
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced 
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, chopped
  • 2 sprigs green onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 cup sliced radishes
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs lemon Mrs. Dash seasoning
  • 1/3 cup drained and chopped black olives
  • 1 tbs hemp seeds per serving (optional)
  • 4 cups baby spinach, rough chopped
  1. Chop all veggies.
  2. Toss everything in a large bowl.
  3. Top with hemp seeds (optional).



Basil wants to help.  She also wants to eat all of the spinach.



This salad makes a healthy, tasty, and filling lunch or dinner.  I brought it to work with a side of fruit, and it made me very happy.  You can experiment with different veggies you have in the fridge.  Get creative!


Do you like pasta salad?  What's your favorite work lunch?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Smoothie for Lovers


This smoothie is for lovers.  It's red, it's chocolate-y, and it's rich.  If you make this for a loved one, you'll win their heart.  Josh and I are getting back into making smoothies on Saturday morning, and it's a great way to start the weekend.


A Smoothie for Lovers
(serves 2 large servings or 4 regular servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 servings vanilla protein powder (optional)
  • 2 heaping tbs maca powder
  • 2 tbs cacao powder
  • 2 tbs chia seeds
  • 4 tbs peanut or almond butter
  • 2 frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup ice
  • 2 cups water
Add to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.




I love how Josh's face brightens when I hand him a big, strawberry smoothie.  It's also a great way to get protein, healthy fats and fruit in your loved one's diet.  I love making something tasty for Josh, and it's doubly great when it's good for him.


Basil says, "Don't you love me?  Why can't I have some smoothie??"  She absolutely loves watching me make things.  I went on instagram and looked up #catsinthekitchen.  Turns out, it's definitely a thing.


I know it's a month until Valentines Day, but you might think about making something sweet and healthy for your honey.  Don't wait for Vday though, because you can make something nice for your love any day of the year.

Do you have a favorite smoothie?  Do you enjoy smoothie Saturdays?  Leave me a comment!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Give Me the Deets


Every now and then, it feels good to write up a non-food post.  I want to start a series where I give you guys some non-food details about me.



DEET #1: Josh and I are board game nuts.

We have been hoarding nerdy board games for years, and for years we were the only ones playing them.  Recently, though, we have been getting our friends involved.  Spending a Saturday playing Small World is my kind of night.  We are hoping to have board game nights at least once a month throughout this year.  We are so excited about the Exploding Kitten craze sweeping the internet currently.  We kick started the project, so we'll have our deck in July.



DEET #2: I am so coordinated, I broke my leg walking.

Well, granted, we were backpacking on White Rock Mountain, but I was still just walking along the trail.  This was in October of 2011, and I would not have made it down the mountain without Josh and our awesome friends.



In the end, it was a very minor break and I recovered fine, but I still love to tell the story.  I usually tell people that I broke it while trying to save a school bus full of children from a 30 foot tall bear.


DEET #3: I'm a BARCH.

I graduated from the Fay Jones School of Architecture in 2008 with a Bachelors of Architecture.  I have been fortunate to have worked pretty consistently since I graduated.  I was laid off during the recession, but I was only out of work for a few months.  Let's just say, it was not a good time to be entering the construction profession.


DEET #4: I make goofy drawings and paintings.

I don't paint as much as I'd like, but I really enjoy it when I do.  I would like to spend more time this year focusing on some art projects.  I do keep sketches and paintings on Scribbly Brain.



DEET #5: I had dreadlocks in college.

Yep, I was that girl.  I had them for less than a year, and they were way more of a pain than I could handle.  I did make a pretty mean Medusa for Halloween.


Well, there you have it.  The biggest thing I have taken from these photos is that I should never have bangs again.

I also like smoothies.  Mmmm... smoothies.

Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories from your past?  Leave me a comment!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Fitness Friday: Get Outside


It's been a pretty cold winter so far in Arkansas.  We haven't seen much rain or snow, but the temps have been fairly frigid for a few months now.  So, when the temperature spikes into the 60's recently, I did everything I could to get outside.


When I lived in Fayetteville after college, I rode bikes with my best friend Devon constantly.  Since moving here, my cycling habit has been flaky at best.  Now, though, I have no excuse, because my friend Erin rides as well.  We headed out on Saturday with her husband on our first ride of the year.


Since it was our first ride, and we wanted to take it easy, I convinced them that the thing to do would be to ride to Diamond Bear for a beer on their patio.  Saturday brew rides were born!





Here is the Dogtown Brown, which is my favorite of their beers.  I'm a dogtown girl.


Sunday morning, Josh and I met our friend Matt at Pinnacle Mountain for a hike.  We knew it would be packed, since it was the first nice weekend in months, so we went early.  We hiked around the base and then climbed up the hard side.  I got a little scared towards the top, because it's a little hard to pull up on all the rocks, but I made it!





The view on the way up is spectacular, but when you reach the summit, you can see for miles and miles.



It's also very sunny.


We went on the hike so early that I didn't eat before hand, so when we came down the mountain, I was starving.  We headed to Bar Louie for a late brunch.



I had an All Day IPA (lower alcohol content) and a modified veggie wrap.  We also shared their hummus, which is really tasty.  I love having a nice meal after a good hike.

Things on the fitness front have been really great.  Besides getting outside, I have been going to hot yoga, zumba, and hitting the gym.  I have several amazing workout buddies, and I'm feeling good.

Do you have any great local trails in your area?  What's your favorite thing to do outside?  Leave me a comment!